This is the quilt I think of as my "spring" quilt. Actually, I think I should make another "spring" quilt because I really don't like this one. It's like green eggs and ham...Do you like my hat? No, I do not like my quilt. But, it's a first in so many ways.
It's the first BOM I ever did. It's the first (and only) quilt I've ever made (or will ever make) where all the pieces are made from the same blender print, just in different colors. It was my first experience being a regular shopper in a specialty quilt store. It was my first truly successful free motion quilting. And, it's where I learned about quilting perseverence...never let a quilt beat you, no matter how ugly you think it is. And, it was the first time my work was displayed in public.
In 2006, I was still having trouble going into fabric stores and had never been to a quilt store before. Everything came from JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics. Even in those stores, there was a lot of staring at me and women cutting in line in front of me because they thought I was just there holding stuff for a wife. I don't know if I'd have even gotten into quilting if women at the pattern book table hadn't made me feel so uncomfortable, staring and moving away so that they could make sure our shoulders wouldn't touch. Add to that my natural insecurity and a shyness I cannot overcome and the fabric stores were a pretty bad experience for me.
But, I needed a foot and a quilting friend I had made at JoAnn's sent me to the quilt store for it. They had it and they were offering a quilt class. I wanted to go, but it was during the day and I knew I couldn't take off Wednesdays from 9-1 for 10 weeks or whatever it was. But, they offered me this BOM they were holding for 2007. I paid $5 to get in and every month I brought the finished block back, I got a new block for free and a 25% discount on anything in the store.
Okay, so don't let anyone fool you. There's no such thing as a $5 quilt. We didn't have a kid. I had the money and I got a stash out of it. Not just a stash of fabric, but also of threads. And, out of the 20 or so of us that brought our blocks back month after month, I was one of the few that actually finished the quilt. Even the designer never finished hers. And, you can see why. There's no contrast and they used all the colors they had in stock in the quilt, so there was nothing to use for set in triangles or sashing that didn't disappear into some part of a block. Because all the blocks were one print, I decided all the finishing fabrics had to be that print, too. So, the finishing and backing cost me about $65 and then there was the batt and the invisible thread and the hours and hours of quilting and this little quilt turned out to be quite expensive. In business, we call that hidden cost. And, because I was one of the few that finished, it got hung in the store for a month. My only displayed work.
Every year, I pull it out and hang it up, just for the short Texas spring. Then, I'll take it down and replace it with one of my more summery quilts.
So, what about the quilt designer? She still works in the store a couple days a week. I've followed her BOM two additional years and have two additional ugly quilts. This year, I decided not to participate. I didn't even finish the one for last year yet. I'll get to it. Just not today.
In case you hadn't figured it out yet, I got over my fear of fabric stores. I took a class, I studied and I learned and now I'm a pretty good quilter. I think of myself at the advanced level when picking patterns. I do pretty good with color selection.
But, mostly, I'm not afraid of quilting. Sometimes it scares me to walk out my front door. Sometimes it scares me to try something new. Sometimes it scares me to say what I feel or what I think. But it never scares me to pull down a new pattern and select fabrics and make a beautiful quilt. And, it doesn't scare me to change my mind half way and pull out a week's worth of work and do it over again or pull a block off the design wall and make a new one.
If you're afraid to try free motion quilting, or afraid to use orange, or afraid to buy a yard of that beautiful fabric just because you don't have a project for it yet, as Cher said in Moonstruck, "Snap out of it!" It's only quilting. Even if you don't like it, you can find a purpose for it. You can hang it once a year to help you remember who you were when you made it. You can give it to a charity. You can give it to someone you don't like.
And, some people can just leave it unfinished. I think those are the bravest quilters of all. Sometimes I wish I was one.
Take care and have a great Wednesday. Next week is spring break and we're planning what we're going to do. I hope to quilt. But, I think Miss Sydney wants to do something. We'll see who gets the best of whatever compromise we end up with.